Programs 2021: Voices from the Archive – Stories of Immigrants and Pioneers in their own words

2nd Sunday History Series at the Bell Tower by the Florence Historical Archive
Programs begin at 3:00 P.M.; Refreshments available following each program

Part I July 11
Earliest Residents and the Hardscrabble Settlement by Sylvia Andrews.
Immigration Patterns to Colorado and Fremont County by Martie LaCasse
Part II August 8
Innovative Farmer, Jesse Frazer, and his original Abstract by Dorothy Cool (1859-80)
The Weight of Water; Ditch Development and its PioneersIncluding the DeWeese-Dye Ditch by Reta Brunner

Part III September 12 The Reminisces and Legacy of Edwin Biehl Lobach by Margaret Storm.

Founding Fathers’ Early Land Claims: Herrington, May, McCumber, McCandless, Musser, Rockafellow, Tanner, Toof by Melvena Benham, Deyon Boughton, Dorothy Cool, Martie LaCasse

Part IV October 10 Yugoslavian and other Eastern European Immigrant groups and their Cultures. – Families: Javernick, Ziolkowski, Slack, and others by Sylvia Andrews.

Family Wagon Farms of Brewster; Graham, Lippis, Vendetti by Martie LaCasse.

How the Village Was Formed by Millie Wintz

November 14

The Business That Jack Built -The Jack Family and their Florence Businesses by Melvena Benham

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Programs 2020: Yellow and Red Roses – Rightfully Hers – Four Looks at the History of the 19th Amendment

See About Us for more information or Florence Historical Archive on Facebook.

Because Colorado was the first state to ratify women’s suffrage in 1893, celebrations were scheduled across Colorado in the last months of 2019 and many more were scheduled for 2020.  Organizations such as the WSCSC (Women’s Suffrage Centennial-Southern Colorado) and the Pueblo Heritage Museum showcased an exhibit about the push for women’s right to vote in Colorado.  The WSCSC commemorated 75 years of the League of Women’s Voters in February and plan an entry in the Colorado State Fair Parade.

The Florence Historical Archive’s subject of 2019 was Railroad History of Fremont County.  For 2020 we have chosen the timely subject of Women’s Suffrage. We join with our sister organizations across the state in celebrating the courageous women of Colorado who worked with such to bring about this long-awaited change.  Due to social distancing, we had to cancel our program at the Pueblo Community College, Fremont Senior College in March but will go forward with the 2nd Sunday talks at 3:00 at the Florence Bell Tower. 

Part I September 13th Topics include: Into to the 19th Amendment, Yellow & Red Roses – Ratification/Tennessee, Banner; Seneca Falls Convention and connection; ERA Amendment – Virginia as 38th state passed the amendment on January 15th, 2020; and Anti-Suffrage, Culture and Magdalena Raynolds.

Part II, October 11th Topics Include: Intro to Territory Women, Amache Prowers, Owl Woman, Teresita Sandoval; Intro to US National Suffrage – 13 Courageous Ladies from History; Dr. Mary Edwards Walker and Dress Reform; and Jeannette Rankin and Christina Koch

Part III, November 8th and Part IV Dec 13 topics to be announced in October.

Projects: 2020: Selections from the Archive Display featuring Colorado Women Leaders in Suffragette Movement

Programs 2019: Railroad History of Fremont County

Page 1: Introduction, Builders and Money, Trolleys and Transportation

Page 2: Coal Camp Spurs, Horrifying to Heartwarming, Royal Gorge Railroad Wars,

Other presentations that are part of this program include Horrifying to Heart Warming, Accidents, Robberies, Incidents by Marie LaCasse Depots of Western Fremont County by Carol McNew, Depots of Eastern Fremont County by Dorothy Cool, Refineries & Smelters by Gayle McKinnon; and , Importance and Impact of the Railroads by Margaret Storm: Please visit the archive if interested in booking one or all of these presentations.

The archive adopted the research project, Railroad History of Fremont County, Colorado for the year 2019. Programs developed from this research were presented at the 2019 Senior College at Pueblo Community College Canon, City Campus, as the first five months of programs in the Florence Bell Tower Cultural Center’s 2019 Second Sunday series, at the American Legion Post in Florence, and for the Territorial Daughters of Colorado, Southern Division. These summaries are from the presentations at the Bell Tower. Photos on the next page from Bell Tower and Senior College presentations. Contact the archives for more information.

Introduction by Mildred Wintz

During our presentation in July, Mildred Wintz talked about the three things that any railroad needs; land ownership, appropriate equipment, and four fragile, renewable resources: fuel, water, manpower, and financial viability. Losing any one of the resources could wipe out a railroad immediately. Running
out of water, or cutting all the local timber for ties or fuel could wipe out a line.

An obvious feature of the railroad is the rails set upon the roadbed. The width between the rails is called the gauge. You have either the 4’8 ½” standard gauge or the 3-foot narrow gauge. Historically the standard width of most roadbeds was established by the first major international roadbuilders, the Roman army. The most common Roman vehicle was a single horse-drawn chariot. The width of the horse determined the common width of the chariot, which determined the common width of the road.

Builders and Money by Melvena Benham

Melvena Benham talked about the Builders and money involved in the three different railroads here in Fremont County. The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe charter was written singlehandedly by Colonel Cyrus Holliday. Who also became its president. During the Royal Gorge Railroad War, Thomas Nickerson was president.

The Denver and Rio Grande was started by General William Palmer. The Denver and Rio Grande was always trying to come up with more money in order to stay in operation. Finally toward the end of the Railroad war Jay Gould purchase 37,791 shares of stock. The Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad was started by James Alexander McCandless. McCandless convinced William Johnson to become a director of the railroad. These two men were having a difficult time attracting investors for the railroad. However, they were finally able to convince David Moffat to
become involved, and within just over a year the railroad was complete.

Visions of an Electric Railway in Fremont County by Sylvia Andrews

Sylvia Andrews gave us the story of the electric railways revolving around the rapid growth of Florence and Canon City in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s plus technological advances in the railroad industry. The discovery of gold, then coal, then black gold and other minerals as well as fertile land and rapid population growth made Florence leaders aware of the need for electric railways. Thomas Robinson, mayor of Florence, tried for several years to realize his vision for a streetcar system called the Florence Electric Railway Company that would run from Florence to Canon City. Robinson had raised the capital,
incorporated, and started building by 1900. Orders had been placed for the machinery, car, rails, ties, etc. and work was underway for the $6,000 Bridge. Several blocks of track were laid and then funding dried up. In the book’ “Colorado Trolleys”, Leland Feitz wrote, “Canon City and Florence came so close to having a trolley system, that had the plan developed, it would have been one of Colorado’s most ambitious transportation systems.” Just a few years later automobiles would put an end to plans for streetcars, but Robinson should be remembered for his futuristic dreams of networking cities and using sustainable energy.

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